3. Leaking of Urine
Another symptom of overactive bladder is leaking of urine. Many people who have overactive bladder leak small amounts of urine and then experience a short 'break' in the sense of urgency. Most of the time, people who leak urine as a result of an overactive bladder are aware of the leaking but are unable to stop it. On the other hand, some people who suffer from overactive bladder actually experience small leaks without being aware of it or without a forewarning sensation indicating that a leak of urine may happen.
Incontinence is urinating without deliberate control. There is some overlap between incontinence and leaking, and the main difference generally lies in the amount. As with leaking, incontinence may be an involuntary release of a limited amount of urine, followed by a brief time period of control before reaching a toilet to more fully empty the bladder. Usually, incontinence is conscious (affected people are aware of it) even if it is not stoppable by deliberate control.
Other Conditions That Are Mistaken for Overactive Bladder
Overactive bladder may be confused with a type of incontinence called stress incontinence, which is a different condition. Stress incontinence is generally caused by alterations in the position of the muscle, bladder, uterus, prostate or other organs, while overactive bladder is caused by frequent or erratic contraction (squeezing activity) of the bladder itself.
Dementia often causes incontinence due to loss of voluntary control of urination or due to impaired awareness or judgment. This is also not the same as overactive bladder.
Minassian VA, Yan XS, Sun H, Platte RO, Stewart WF. Clinical validation of the Bladder Health Survey for urinary incontinence in a population sample of women. Int Urogynecol J. 2016 Mar;27(3):453-61